Hey nature lover! We hear you love nature and everything it has to offer: stunning landscapes, impressive wilderness and trails that leave your legs like jelly, and your mind blown. Us too. That’s why we’re bringing you the World’s Favorite National Parks – so you can add them all to your bucket list and cross them off one at a time. We’ll begin in the US, and make our way around the globe so you get a full picture of each national park and what it has to offer. Ready to strap on your hiking boots? Thought so. Here’s part one, with seven of the world’s favorite national parks for starters.
Zion National Park, Utah
We couldn’t write this any better ourselves, so we’ll leave it to the pros at Zion national park to describe it in its full glory: “Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.”
Zion is Utah’s first national park, and a State favorite at that. With its mix of easy, medium and strenuous walks as well as its famous canyon walks for groups of up to 12 that are fit for any type of nature lover and fitness level, you can take in the wonders of Zion at your own pace whilst taking in its breathtaking beauty.
If you’re not a fan of walking the trails, e-bikes, bicycles and shuttles are all on offer to give you the best possible views and experience that this national park has to offer.
Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana & Idaho
Yellowstone park is so big, it spans 3 States. And, it’s a wild beauty full of prehistoric nature preserved for the world to see. Sat atop a so-called super volcano, Yellowstone is bubbling just underneath the surface, which is why is has such incredible geothermic water sources dotted throughout the park.
With its fair share of wildlife ranging from coyotes to grizzly bears, bison to elk, redwoods to pines, waterfalls to snowy peaks, you’re in for a treat in this national park. Hiking, biking, horse-riding and bird watching are the main activities at Yellowstone, and as with Zion, there’s something for everyone’s fitness level, so there’s no reason to get left behind.
Visit the Yellowstone National Park website here to get clued up on your visit, and don’t forget to read those safety guides!
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
With a sunset guaranteed to take your breath away and a plethora of activities to dive into, the Grand Canyon is a national park worth shouting about. It’s one of the most visited national in the US, and it’s more than 5 million years old, which means there’s plenty of beauty and phenomena to lay your eyes on.
Whether you’re a hiker, biker or white water rafter, there’s plenty of ways to get around the Grand Canyon whilst learning its unique and historic roots. At its deepest, the canyon reaches down to 6,000 feet, and it’s home to 1,500 plant species, 305 bird species and 76 mammal species (reckon you can catch a glimpse of them all?), leaving it rich with views that’ll leave you speechless.
Banff National Park, Canada
There’s something about Banff National Park that’s so inviting and otherworldly. Pictures taken of Banff’s beauty really do tell 1000 stories, from the serrated outline of its mountains, its thousands of needle-thin trees, to the vibrant aquamarine sheen of Lake Louise: this national park calls to you from the pictures alone.
In reality it’s Canada’s favorite national park, and it’s a place that you can easily spend a few days getting to know intimately, thanks to its 1600km of hiking trails, rafting routes, geothermal hot springs and its insanely beautiful wildlife that’ll have you feeling like you’ve fallen into a fairytale.
May and June are the best times to hit the trails at Banff, but the park is open year round and even offers skiing during the winter months.
Did you know?
National parks weren’t actually created to be tourist attractions. Instead, they were made to protect the delicate biodiversity that appears on their landscape.
Pretty neat right?
Nowadays, some national parks receive as many as a million tourists per year. That’s a lot. But each tourists helps further preserve the life within the park through their admission and any generous tips they offer on their visit, plus by keeping to all the rules of the park, which is paramount in helping to keep these parks clean, tidy and safe.
Los Glaciares, Argentina
Los Glaciares National Park has 1.5 million acres to discover, with polar opposite sights and activities, making it one of the world’s most iconic national parks. Whether you want to see the incredible peaks of Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy (which rise to almost 10,000 feet!), or the park’s most visited attraction and UNESCO World Heritage Site: Perito Moreno Glacier, which sits on the shore of Lake Argentino, there’s breathtaking beauty everywhere you turn at Los Glaciares.
Head into the Patagonian forest at the bottom of the park for a blanket of trees and luscious foliage like the wild cherry. Hidden within the forest you’ll find gray foxes and cougars in their natural habitat, alongside an array of wildlife to watch and learn from.
The Galápagos, Ecuador
When you think of the Galápagos islands, you think sun, sea, sand and turtles. Or at least we do. This UNESCO world heritage site spans a total of 3,000 square miles over 19 islands, and lies 600 miles off of the Ecuadorian coast so there’s plenty to discover as you head out on your adventures around this mass of archipelago.
With its stunning array of wildlife that’s like no other on this list, like Waved Albatross, Green Turtles, and Land Iguanas, you feel as though you’ve taken a leap back in time wherever you look, and its volcanic color scheme and rocky landscape feels other worldly – like you’ve stepped into a book and discovered a new planet.
Interestingly enough, The Galápagos islands have their own microclimate, due to the convergence of several ocean currents that surround the islands. That means that the weather can be quite contradictory. Between May and December you’ll find its dry season, with cooler temperatures and overcast skies welcoming you for your visit. From December back round to May you’ve got the hot season which is not only very hot, but very wet too. It’s up to you to decide which weather forecast you’d prefer!
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve is actually an extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park featuring grassy plains, rolling hills and picturesque savannah wilderness that are home to lions, cheetahs, elephants, hippos and zebras who live their life in harmony taking what they need from the reserve.
The reason that Maasai Mara is known as a reserve rather than a nation park is because it’s still inhabited by the Maasai people. Unfortunately, in the past the villages within Maasai Mara were razed, or all but completely destroyed, which is a dark stain on this wonderful area in the world. Depsite that, the reserve flourishes, and offers tourists a chance to get up close and personal with the local wildlife that we’d usually only find in zoos back home. Watching the animals graze in the reserve is a beautiful insight into how nature really works, and the animals are so used to the tour buses full of people that they go about their business unflinching.
So we’re well on our way around the globe right now, but we’ll take a break in Kenya and be back next week with the second half of the world’s most favorite national parks. Any ideas what’s coming up in part two? Be sure to follow us on our social media channels to find out when our next blog post goes live!